Realistic Equivalents

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Realistic equivalents from military and other sources, to add impact to your fanfiction.


  • Rifle - The advanced HK G36 was discussed but it could really be any modern battle rifle. For example, the older, heavier 7.62mm H&K G3, FN FAL, M14. But more likely, given the relatively low hitting power (compared to the Pistol), a lower calibre burst-mode assault rifle like the 5.56mm M4 with a 20-rd STANAG magazine (rather than the more typical 30-rd).
  • Pistol - SOCOM use .45 ACP, aka HK MK23. Very similar to the game pistol in magazine capacity and power (compared to the game rifle, anyway).
  • Auto-Cannon - The XM29 and XM25 semi-automatic 20mm grenade launcher projects underway in the late 1990s could possibly have delivered prototypes to XCom - prototypes modified to enable burst mode and increased-size (rotary) magazine. Another candidate would be a lighter version of the 12-rd Hawk MM-1 revolver grenade launcher, modified for burst mode. Or perhaps XCom tapped Russian quartermasters for the selective-fire 30mm AGS-30 grenade launcher, brand new in 1999, a massive weapon but just about man-portable with 29 rounds. With only 14 rds loaded, maybe a strong soldier could fire from the hip.

Craft Armaments

  • Cannon - The M61 20mm Vulcan was the standard air to air cannon of the period. The more advanced GAU-12 Equalizer is perhaps a closer equivalent.

Equipment & Explosives

  • Medi-Kit - Stimulants and painkillers aside, Chitosan battlefield bandages clot severe bleeding wounds instantly. (Secret ingredients: ground shrimp shells and vinegar. From Slashdot.) Also QuikClot. No need for nanites! Stimulants - In real life the Air Force gives its pilots amphetamines in order to keep them awake, I'm sure that the medi-kit would use something similar.
  • Grenade - Standard M67 fragmentation grenade. Note the nearest thing to our timer is "cook-off" time. Electronic fuses are possible and reliable.
  • Proximity Grenade - no equivalent. Claymore tripwires and ultrasonic sensors are possible. "SLAM Mine" appeared in Splinter Cell as the Wall Mine.
  • High Explosive - M183, 20lb C4 satchel charges.
  • Stun Bomb - Possibly an advanced version of Pepperballs. Other than the fact that the stun bomb causes an explosion which knocks units UNCONSCIOUS, and effects units that do not possess eyes or respiratory systems... even inorganic units for that matter. Anyhow, this is an item of alien technology, and should not have an earth equivalent.
  • Stun Rod - Cattle prod or Taser. Not much call for this item in real life since Tasers, Rubber Bullets and Tranquiliser Darts have better range.
  • Power Suit - has arrived! The Hybrid Assistive Limb is available for rent in Japan for $1500 a month. All that is missing are the Alien Alloys to reinforce it and a UFO Power Source to power it for extended periods of time. The US' SARCOS Experiments ( ) also seem a likely case.

Vehicles & Armament

Or something larger, like an electric mini bulldozer.

  • Interceptor fighter - USAF Lockheed F-22 Raptor scheduled for release 2004 will replace the F-15. F-35 Lightning II hit production 2006. However, even as of 2012 none of the modern day interceptor craft has nearly the effective range of the ones in X-Com. Though possibly more in line with the Russian Mikoyan MiG-31 as the Interceptor is depicted as being able to catch up with most small alien craft; the MiG-31's top speed is Mach 2.83 at high altitude which is faster than almost all western fighters with only the American F-15C being able to catch up with it. And like the Interceptor, the MiG-31 has shielded avionics.
  • Firestorm wingless aircraft - possibly the (as of 2009) experimental Wingless Electromagnetic Air Vehicle under development at NASA. Movement and steering is done through an aerial version of magnetohydrodynamics, using charged plasma to repel air away from the craft's surface into the opposite direction - essentially an aircraft with no wings or moving parts. Due to the nature of the propulsion system, it would be unable to function in space though. Lead researcher confirmed the prototype's shape to be saucer.

The german Do-31 concept was intended as a combat zone transporter carrying up to 36 fully equipped troops over a mission radius of about 900 km. It had the ability of taking off and landing vertically with the help of wing mounted engine pods and was able to land on unprepared surfaces. Two flying prototypes were built in Germany during the 1960s.

"Payload considerations have also been a sore point with the CV-22. Planners will have to take into consideration its reduced cabin volume and lift capacity. Not only does it carry fewer troops (18 vs 27), it is also incapable of transporting any of the armored, wheeled vehicles currently used by SOF teams. Procurement of a new vehicle is still pending..." CV-22 Tiltrotor Osprey compared to Pavelow helicopter in Special Forces deployments, 1 June 1998. Could that new vehicle be HWP-sized?

Unit size, speed, game turn length, etc.

See Danial's interesting page on various game measurements compared to real life. (If anyone wants to dive into this deeper, make a new page, copy his stuff over, and have a link at the top of the new page giving kudos back to Danial's page... due to the fact it's his page, it's not really a place for public revision.)

There is also a discussion taking place on the speeds of aircraft and UFOs.


After solving both the Barometric equation, the Drag formula and Einsteins mass-energy equivalence equation we arrive at the mass of a unit of Elerium-115 being approximately 2.13 grams.

Terror Ships have 4 reactors with 50 units of Elerium-115 each. If all the E-115 in the reactor detonated at once, it would have an explosive force of about 2.3 megatons. This value is almost exactly the size of two US B83 thermonuclear devices at their maximum yield. (It is highly unlikely that 100% of the E-115 in the reactor would detonate in this way we would need to assume a figure for the amount of E-115 that goes into an uncontrolled reaction - or estimate the amount based on the displayed blast radius.)

What if the reactor's are 99% efficient (as stated in the UFOpaedia) because to achieve nearly complete reaction of Elerium requires a certain catalyst? That would also explain why the Elerium in the reactors didn't detonate with such force, the alien Engineers having removed the catalyst to prevent the unstable reaction." -amitakartok

There are some interesting armchair conjectures on the power contained in Elerium, both on the Elerium-115 page, and on its Discussion page.

Considering that E-115 is supposed to provide a stable anti-matter reaction and a unique form of propulsion, the price of a gram of this element would be enough to fund the X-COM project for decades. Current projections are that a gram of anti-matter would cost about $63 Trillion USD. Californium-252, which is used to help start up nuclear reactors, cost about $27 million USD per gram.
This argument can also be used to justify the appearance of credits in the new game, otherwise XCOM would be the richest organization on Earth - it could just make an auction and sell Elerium or Sectoid bodies to the highest bidder and everyone would want access to the new tech. As Vahlen says: To think, this single element has the potential to change the entire economic structure of Earth's energy industry. and if you're control the Elerium source then you've just become the major energy player in the whole world. Hobbes 14:02, 3 March 2013 (EST)